Getting faster involves greater ground contact forces (GCF) over very short ground contact times (GCT). The greater the force, the faster you are. The shorter the ground contact time, the faster you are. Plyometrics, or jump training, is a great way to achieve greater forces and shorter contact times for track and field athletes.
The video below provides a fantastic explanation of how to produce more GCF and shorten GCT---in essence how to get faster. The inclusion of the optojump brings realtime data to this explanation. The data shows how GCF gets smaller and GCT gets longer (hence you are getting slower) during the exercise. This is why you train speed with full or near full recoveries.
The value of olympic lifts can not be understated to speed and power athletes. For awhile I've been working on these lifts, trying to get away from the power versions and doing more full snatches and cleans. In a previous post, I concentrated on the combo lifts of power snatch/clean to front squat. Lately, I've been focusing on the following progression of drills to help groove the overhead position.
Overhead Squat Once the front squat is mastered, it's necessary to take on the overhead squat, which is the most challenging squat variation. Nothing test your core strength, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle mobility like the overhead squat. It is absolutely necessary to get comfortable with this lift before progressing.
Once the overhead squat is mastered, it's time to introduce dynamic movement that precedes the overhead squat position.
Pressing Balance Snatch The first drill in this progression category is the pressing balance snatch. The goal of this drill to to press yourself underneath the bar into an overhead squat position. Ideally elevation of the bar will never change. This drill should be done slowly, ensuring proper technique.
Start this drill with the bar on your back using a snatch grip. Using the overhead squat stance, press against the bar causing you to drop into an overhead squat. Then stand up, keeping the bar overhead.
Jerking Balance Snatch The second drill in this progression category is the jerking balance snatch. The goal of this drill is similar to the pressing balance snatch, but instead of pressing underneath the bar, you add a slight hip dip and drive to initiate the movement.
This drill starts the same way as the previous drill, using a snatch grip with the bar on your back. Next, dip your hips slightly and then in one motion explosively extend your knees and hips. This should make the bar feel weightless. At this moment, drop into the bottom of the overhead squat position. After the weight is stabilized, stand up, keeping the bar overhead.
Balance Snatch The third drill in this progression category is the balance snatch. This drill is similar to the jerking balance snatch, but instead of using the same stance for the duration of the drill, you will start in a jump stance and finish in the catch stance.
Using a snatch grip with the bar on you back in a jump stance, dip your hips and, more explosively than in the previous drill, extend your knees and hips. This should create the minimum amount of space between your feet and the platform to quickly move into move into a catch stance and drop into an overhead squat. After the weight is stabilized, stand up, keeping the bar overhead.
Mastery of these lifts is obviously a work in progress.